Valdorcia for garden lovers – 8 favourite gardens and blooming corners

l love flowers and I love gardens! I drive the car and concentrate in the wild flowers more than the street, or I watch at movies on the tv and notice the vases with compositions in the setting! When I travel I look for what I love most, so gardens and nature are always present in my itineraries! I thought to share this passion with other garden-loving-travelers!

Here is my personal list of gardens, or lovely blooming corners that you can enjoy if you are a garden- and flower-lover visiting Val d’Orcia!

n. 1 La Foce

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La Foce has to be the number one of this list, as this garden offers the most beautiful  and iconic view on the Valdorcia. The garden, built on a deep slope, has the scenographic character of a glorious “giardino all’italiana”, with box rows, architectural masterpieces, topiary, and it might belong to a Medici Villa around Firenze. However that’s not the case, as the gardens were built in the XX century by Antonio Origo and his wife, English writer Iris Origo.

What I mostly love of the garden is the private corners, the hidden flowerbeds, where Iris planted her favorite cottage flowers, and I imagine her, walking around the bushes of peonies and roses, blooming beside the wild Italian gladiolus, typical of our countryside, home sick for English gardens…

n. 2 Il bosco della ragnaia

“Il bosco” is more a park than a garden. It was created by the American artist Sheppard Craige at San Giovanni d’Asso, and it’s a private jewel open to the public. I remember the first time I’ve been there. It was 2006 and I had the privilege to listen to the soloists of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, performing an intimate concert. In the shade of the woodland, with wild shy cyclamen popping out, with an intense smell of old leaves and a celestial music, I thought to be in a dream.

The feeling is still there every time I visit the park, I get lost and I fill up with wonder and happiness. There is something magical about that woodland, especially for me, as I’ve grown up on the top a sunny hill, with a row of cypresses in the alleyway and I have missed green trees, rain and shade for my whole life!

n. 3 L’orto di Manu in Vignoni Alto

There is in Vignoni Alto, a little garden called Orto di Manu. It’s a little corner of paradise, full of flowers and serendipity. It’s nothing more that a very beloved flower bed where Manu grows dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, asters and vegetables, of course! You can peek in while you visit the little village of Vignoni!

This garden it’s always a source of very good feelings and inspiration, my local “Tiffany window”, if you know what I mean…
At Manu’s garden you can find a little bag where you can leave a message or a present, to say “thank you” for these minutes of joy you’ve received!

n. 4 L’Eremo del Vivo

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That is a very unexpected spot and a little gem, for those who still can see the wonder and the beauty in the simplicity. Beside the glorious Palzzo Cervini, a towering caste built in the XIII century over the ruins of a monastery, you will find a little complex of buildings, the previous farmers’ village. These buildings are now beautifully renewed by the offspring of family Cervini and host holiday homes! While walking in the main street of this fairy tale village, you can peek into the private garden of the owners, passionate gardener and dahlia lovers!

n. 5 Horti Leonini

These gardens are the public park of San Quirico, and they are since 1580 a.d., as the owner, lord Diomede Leoni, opened them to the community of the village of San Quirico! It might seems normal and of no special interest nowadays, but for the time it was a sing of great modernity and openness of mind, something that characterized the Tuscan aristocracy of the Renaissance! However I’m in love with plants, so even if admire the structure of the box rows, the woodland and the architecture of the garden, I just cannot forget the total absence of flowers…

n. 6 Cut-Flower garden Puscina

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Now, that’s a juicy stop, if you really love flowers! This young farm is led by three sisters that  built up a cut flower garden and flower lab. They sell their compositions for weddings and events, host workshops and since this year they organize guided tours of their beautiful garden! Together with floral designer “La Rosa Canina” they founded the association Slow Flowers Italy, to support local growers and inspire florists to pursue a more natural design! We’re proud to be associated too!

n. 7 Giardino di Spoerri and a stop at Il Silene

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This park is more a museum of sculptures than a flower-lover destination! The garden hosts and incredible collection of masterpieces of Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri and his students. You can spend a lovely day there, walking amidst the modeled landscape, discovering the different natural rooms of the exhibition!

For lunch you can have a stop at Michelin-star Restaurant Il Silene, that recently built up a vegetable garden and herb garden with an outdoor pergola for summer aperitif! The restaurant is decorated with wild flowers and foraged greens, beautifully displayed by my friend Beatrice Ramirez, a sensitive flower designer and flower-grower!

n. 8 Orto botanico di Fonte Magria

If you drive up to the mountain Amiata, you can make a stop at the botanical garden of Fonte Magria. The monte Amiata region has been subject of studies, as its position make possible the growth of a multitude of endemic species, among which officinal plants, wild flowers, trees and bushes.

The garden hosts classes and walks to protect and discover the fascinating ecosystem of the Monte Amiata.


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